When we last left her Patty a had just gotten in the raft. Since she wrote the post below, obviously she survived. Read on to find out how….
There are times, when a picture is worth a thousand words.
“What does one wear rafting (apart from a terror-stricken expression on one’s face)?” I asked Michael S. Kaye, president of Costa Rica Expeditions. It was my way of reminding him of my river phobia.
“Roberto [Miranda, the Costa Rican filmmaker documenting The Trip of a Lifetime] will be taping it.” He responded. “Please wear designer rafting togs and a expression of absolute ecstasy on your face.” That’s Michael for you – lighthearted, direct, confident. If I wanted an easy out, I wasn’t going to get one here.
It’s Day 1 of our trip. Getting into the rafts, Michael introduces me to our guide, Siau, saying “Patty almost died in a river. Can you tell her how long you’ve been leading trips to reassure her?” Siau demurs. “Not until I get her through this one alive.”
He tightens my life vest while I take stock of my assets.
1- One guide, credentials unknown, behind me.
2- Michael in front of me. He’s the president of the company, surely they wouldn’t want HIS raft to capsize.
3- Yolanda, who looked like she was praying during the safety talk, across from me.
4) Max, a fellow Trip of a Lifetime participant. Don’t know much about Max. But he’s tall, very tall. Arm span will be a good thing if I need to be fished out of the water. I’m going to be nice to Max.
7- Life vest
8- Rescue boat, Eduardo in a kayak
Not bad, a lot more than I had the last time I was on a river. Whoa! What’s happening? We push off, the river takes us, no going back. Let’s see those pictures:
Here’s Roberto filming. Which will it be, abject terror or absolute ecstasy?
Ecstasy! That was before we collided with the other raft.
Terror! Thankfully, I didn’t fall out. If I had, Eduardo was ahead of us:
And herein lies the difference between being up the creek without a paddle, ie terrified and endangered (see http://upside-down-patty.blogspot.com/2010/11/without-paddle.html), and with a paddle: this time, I wasn’t alone.
This time, it was pretty simple. Do what the guy in front of me does, and what the guy behind me says. When I got rattled, Yolanda would yell “you ok?” or Max would smile, or Sciau would splash water yelling “Piranha!” and I would snap back to the present.
There were moments, when I could actually see the beauty around me – butterflies of all colors, Eduardo’s red rescue kayak swirling, slicing the water like a matador’s cape ahead of us.
I felt protected by these new acquaintances. We worked together, we checked on each other, and the truth is, not only did they have my back, I had theirs. They got in a raft with me knowing I could have freaked out, and I did not want to let them down so I didn’t.
I faced moments like this:
shrieking like a girl, yes, but without fainting or crying. I came up paddling, whooping for joy.
How good does that feel? The picture says it all:
P.S. Turns out Sciau has been river guiding for almost 20 years, and coached the Costa Rica women’s national rafting team. I was on the Air Force One of river rafts! Find out more about Siau and Eduardo here:
Siau and Patty
Curious about where Patty goes next… Find out in her next post.